Where Did Nicknames Come From, What Do They Mean, and What Are They Used For?

Nicknames are usually pet names of endearment or affection and are derived from a distinct characteristic of or the appearance of the subject.

The source is the Old English word eke, which means “as well as” or “in addition to.”

The linguistic transition to nick, meaning “devilish,” came later.

To a stranger a nickname signaled the kind of person they were dealing with by exaggerating either the person’s good or bad characteristics.